This article reveals findings from a narrative inquiry into the experiences of Marlene, a young Latina woman, and her journey to becoming a Spanish Bilingual elementary teacher. The article begins by demonstrating the increasing need for certified Bilingual and ESL teachers that can effectively address the needs of linguistically and culturally diverse students within the context of shifting population and public school demographics in the United States. It then provides an overview of the inquiry and explores salient themes related to how Marlene’s stories reflect challenges and supports to becoming a Spanish Bilingual teacher, and how her experiences shaped her emerging professional identity as a teacher. The article concludes by considering potential implications for PK-12 and higher education institutions’ practices and policies.

Author Biography

Leslie Gauna, Ed.D, is an Assistant Professor in Bilingual and Multicultural Studies at the University of Houston Clear Lake. She teaches bilingual education and English as a Second Language courses. She conducts qualitative research into teachers’ language and cultural practices in the classroom. She has extensive experience in teaching at all grade levels in multilingual schools with bilingual, dual language, and English as a Second Language programs in Texas. She has worked with urban schools and migrant populations in projects related to multicultural and bilingual education, violence prevention, gender, and community participation both in the U.S. and in Argentina. Christine Beaudry, Ed.D, is a Visiting Assistant Professor in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Houston, and currently teaches courses on elementary social studies education. Her research interests include community education, social studies education, culturally responsive and multicultural teaching, and equity and justice in education. She has published and presented on topics related to community education, critical qualitative research, and critical approaches to teaching and learning social studies. She has several years of K-12 teaching experience in both social studies and outdoor education.